Introduction to ABAG Housing Program

The San Francisco Bay Area is an incredibly diverse region. Its inhabitants include people from all over the world who live in communities of every type and size-from big cities to scattered farms. Even with all of this diversity, an issue that consistently faces people in these communities is the challenge of finding suitable and affordable housing.

As the regional land use planning agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, ABAG is very involved in trying to increase the range of housing choices in the region. The major initiatives recently completed or currently underway include:

FOCUS
The goal of FOCUS is to create a development and conservation strategy for the Bay Area. It is a partnership among four regional agencies: ABAG, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.

FOCUS emphasizes the need for focused growth as well as the conservation of natural resources. In particular, FOCUS encourages the development of "complete communities"—neighborhoods with housing, jobs, shopping, parks, schools, and other services near transit services—as a way to increase the range of housing and transportation choices in the region.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)
Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is a state mandated process for determining how many housing units, including affordable units, each community must plan to accommodate. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) determines the total housing need for a region, and it is ABAG's responsibility to distribute this need to local governments. Working with local governments, ABAG developed an allocation methodology for assigning units, by income category, to each city and county in the nine-county Bay Area. This allocation of need shows local governments the total number of housing units, by affordability, for which they must plan in their Housing Elements for the period 2007-2014. Allocations for each jurisdiction are published in the annual housing report described below.

Housing Report
The results of ABAG's 2009 housing survey include the number of residential building permits issued in 2008 as well as the total number of housing units in each city, town, or unincorporated area. The 2009 housing report (to be released in November 2009) will focus on foreclosures with a conference scheduled on November 19.

ABAG publishes an annual report that discusses housing issues of importance to the San Francisco Bay Area. The 2008 report, San Francisco Bay Area Housing Needs Plan, 2007-2014, explains the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) process and outcomes.

The reports published in 2006 and 2007, A Place to Call Home: Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, examined the regional impacts of the Bay Area housing shortage, highlighted the trend toward more "focused growth" in the region, documented the progress that Bay Area communities have made in meeting their housing needs, and promoted local and regional efforts to encourage housing production.

Housing Element Tool Kit
In the Bay Area, local governments must complete revisions to their Housing Elements by June 30, 2009. The Housing Element Tool Kit is designed to be a resource to help local government staff as they work their way through the update process. Our goal is not duplicate information that is already available, but instead to provide a single location for accessing those resources.


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